2011

Jul 18, 2011

Line Up

By James WoodIn kindergarten I learned the subtle art of getting in line. At the beginning of class, at the end of class, before lunch and recess getting in line was the rule. We were taught early and often about how important it is to stand in line. Don’t cut. Keep the lines straight. The same practice is applied throughout my life at the coffee shop or the movie theater. Lining up is still important.Lining up is a metaphor for things working perfectly. If everything lines up then all the pieces necessary are exactly where they need to be. When it comes to a multi-panel display the phrase “lining up” is no metaphor for perfection, it’s the More…
Jul 14, 2011

Reclaim the Conference Room

By James WoodConference rooms need video. With the ubiquity of PowerPoint, Keynote and Skype it’s unthinkable that any modern business conference room would be without the ability to use these tools. And the typical response is to install a projector and screen, however, a whole host of considerations need to be addressed when installing a projector: the ambient light, the screen placement, the projector location and the ability for everyone in the room to see what’s going on. In large settings with controlled lighting and a dedicated audience, a projector is an ideal solution. Most business meetings, however, don’t take place in such an More…
Jul 11, 2011

Brain Rules

Scientists have been busy unlocking the secrets of the human brain: how it works, how it fails and what all that means. The field of neuroscience is making new discoveries daily, but who’s to explain the science to the rest of us? John Medina (Dr. Medina, that is) is a neuroscientist at the University of Washington. He’s not only a researcher but also an educator training up young scientists-to-be. But what you really need to know about him is that he’s been able to translate the obtuse language of the academy into a few simple statements. The research on the human brain can be summed up and applied to daily life and Medina writes about it in his More…
Jul 08, 2011

Hang out a Shingle

By James WoodIt used to be that you could just paint your name and business information on a shingle and hang it out in front of your shop or office. The simple market method was enough to drive business so that the phrase became an idiom for starting a new venture. Especially in the American West, doctors and lawyers could show up in a new town and immediately have business.As technology advanced the signs got a bit more complex with colors and designs. Logos and brand recognition became important marketing features. But most marketing was done through tools like the phone book, that’s why there are so many “AAA Locksmiths” around the country. The More…
Jul 06, 2011

I Can See Clearly Now

By James WoodIn his masterful book on visual design, Beautiful Evidence, Edward Tufte has an extended discussion of “sparklines.” If you don’t already know, a sparkline is a small graphical representation of data, usually in the form of a line graph. Tufte says sparklines are: “data-intense, design-simple, word-sized graphics.” Rather than showing all of the information necessary in one, confused graph, the data is broken out into discreet chunks to be analyzed separately. Whether looking at stock performance, medical data or the average rainfall in the Amazon rainforest, sparklines can be used to make the raw numerical data comprehensible at a More…
Jul 01, 2011

NBA Franchise Portland Trail Blazers CIO Talks about Planar’s Clarity Matrix

"The size, resolution and format of the Clarity Matrix media walls generate a level of energy and excitement that simply isn't possible with any other type of display," said Portland Trail Blazers CIO Chris Dill. "They let Rip City United visitors follow larger-than-life game action away from the arena and allow us to service these important customers in a manner that is both personal and impactful." The 132 square-foot Clarity Matrix video wall has been installed in the Rose Garden Arena, in the new Rip City United Headquarters. Read more.
Jun 28, 2011

Targeted Marketing in Real Life

By James WoodGoogle has made its fortune by selling targeted ads. Most people know Google as the search engine company, but they make no money by offering searches. Rather it’s the ads that appear alongside search results that generate income for Google. It’s a brilliant system that takes advantage of the new world of Internet technology.Prior to the Internet, advertising was focused on getting eyes. The more people who watched a TV show or subscribed to a magazine, the more eyes would see the advertisements and the more valuable the ads are. It’s a game of percentages. Assume that most of the people seeing the ads aren’t interested. Adjust for the More…
Jun 27, 2011

No Unitaskers

By James WoodAlton Brown, the host of Good Eats, Iron Chef America and Feasting on Asphalt on the Food Network often shares his prejudice against unitaskers. The only unitasker he allows in his kitchen is the fire extinguisher. If you’re not familiar, a unitasker is a tool that can only perform one function and kitchens are filled with them. Egg slicers, bread makers, pickle spears and lemon zesters are just a few of the offenders that make Alton cringe. There’s no space in the kitchen for these items that get so little use but take up so much space.In a world that is becoming much more conscious about efficiency, the ethic of no unitaskers can apply More…
Jun 24, 2011

Efficient is the New Sexy

By James WoodShe rolls up in her new car and steps out. Both are drop-dead gorgeous and everyone around stops to stare. What did you imagine? No, not the woman, the car. If it were 20 years ago you might imagine her emerging from a rumbling Dodge Viper or descending from a Humvee. But today its more likely that a sexy car is something like the Tesla Roadster all electric sports car or even the Toyota Prius getting 50 miles per gallon. The world has changed in not that much time so the cars that used to be drool-inducing would now cause us to wince while imagining the cost of filling the tank.The rising cost of energy and rising concerns about the More…
Jun 21, 2011

Digital Signage Trends: Shapes

By James WoodThe rectangle dominates signage. Billboards, menus, movie posters and nearly every sign is locked into the rectangle. Digital signage has been following the same path, largely due to the form factor of display panels (surprise, surprise, also rectangles). But the growing trend seen in digital signage is different shapes. It might be an arch, a wave, a tower or a spiral, but the shapes are coming out to play.It’s not the individual panels that are changing in size, but the configuration of the panels that provides different shapes. Two things are necessary to allow the variety of configurations to work at all: a versatile mounting system More…